I always loved the line from Jonathan Winters when he said: “I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.”
Some of the most successful people I encounter in life started developing a good idea they had without having a really clear idea of where it would take them.
It is amusing really, because we talk about the importance of business plans and drawing up targets and aiming for them and we all have a general feeling that the best-laid plans start that way.
But I cannot discount in life the people who were just really interested in doing something, had a talent for doing it, and jumped right in and only later figured out how it could be monetized.
I once met a now successful cookie maker who became inspired after watching a televised baking show and decided to take up cookie making as a means of easing the stress of her corporate accounting job. She devised different recipes and starting making her creations as hostess gifts for her many friends. Then they became Christmas gifts, and soon a few people asked her if she would bake for a special occasions.
Today she has long quit her accounting job and runs a busy bakery known for amazing recipes. A cookbook will be coming soon.
Looking back now, she told me she knew she wasn’t happy in her accounting job, even though she had studied hard to get her degree in that subject. She knew she needed to change, but she wasn’t sure what she needed to do, so she started with a happy diversion that turned into a means of making a living.
We cannot overlook the power of serendipity in our lives. Somewhere between an urge for change and the realization of a successful business is a point where you feel inspired to act. You cannot wait for success; you just need to get started as Winters eloquently put it.
There is many a runner who starts a marathon without knowing clearly the route he or she will travel. They still manage to cross the finish line a winner.
Sometimes we forget that. We think we have to wait for all the conditions to be perfect before we can effect change in our lives.
With every action we take in life, there is an accompanying opportunity. It is up to us if we choose to pursue it, or if we even acknowledge it, but it is there.
Putting off change until “someday” when all the aspects of our life are lined up in precision is just another guise for procrastination. Missing one opportunity doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the next. Contrary to the popular misconception that if you don’t go through one open door, you are doomed to routine for the rest of your life, you will have many chances to change throughout life.
As a good friend used to say to me, “don’t cry because you missed the boat. Go down to the pier and jump on the next one.”
Take a few minutes today to think about what else you might want to do with your life. What else would you like to get started on, even if you aren’t sure where it might lead you?
You don’t have to know exactly where success stands when you start down that road. You just need to take the first steps.